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Are we constantly living in the past?

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posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 05:23 PM
If it is true that our brain has to process information before we can feel, see, hear, and taste then are we constantly living in the past?

If I touch myself on the arm with my hand then the resulting feeling of my touch and the placement of my hand are not entirely in sync in terms of timing. When I touched my arm, my brain had to first process the touch so I could then feel what was happening. I believe that the sensation I felt on my arm and the placement of my hand on my arm are in sync in terms of timing because my brain is able to process the information so quickly. But the synchronicity is an illusion because I know the placement of my hand on my arm comes before I actually sense that something is on my arm. So when I do experience the feeling of something being on my arm I am experiencing something that has already taken place.

posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 05:28 PM
I guess you are right . But i will differ just a bit...:
- We live in the present, but, all we can see, taste, hear, feel or smell are past experiences

Wondering if we can say that we think in the present?....How fast can be the mind process?....even at extreme speed, i guess we will think also in the past.

posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 05:29 PM
Your brain processes about 2 trillion bits of information a second. Waking or asleep.

Now that being said you are only aware of about 2000 of those bits. Bits of information that you can conciously use to make decisions about your surroundings.

When you have decided to touch your arm, the sensation is instant. Your neural net has been programmed to do the same thing and associate a feeling such as touch to a particular action, depending on how many times you've done it.

The information of the sensation has been processed long before you have touched your arm. In my opinion your brain knew what you were going to do before you asked it to do so.

As far as living in the past, yes most people do. The reason is biological. We are addicted to our emotions. Peptides to be exact. The more of a feeling you get, the more addicted you become to that feeling. Regardless of it's positivity.


posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 05:45 PM
Expand that thought outward to everything we experience, both as individuals and as mankind itself.

The microsecond it takes for our brain to register what our poor senses tell us is history as much as the past holds. Everything we have done lies before us, not behind us, because we are always tuned to what has already happened. We are focussed on the past. Hence the saying:

'If we ignore history, we are bound to repeat it'

The same applies to touching a hot stove or re-living another World War.

Whatever events took place in the universe which caused us to exist lie so far in the past, that we strain the Hubble Telescope to give us answers and yet we can't see a millisecond into the future other than in our poor expectations and fervent hopes.

I've heard it said that we walk backwards into an uncertain future, stumbling over unseen obstructions, backing off cliffs or wading into stormy seas.

I have written this post, I have read it through, and now, as I hit the 'Post Reply' button, these thoughts will be sent out to the world. I have no idea what the repercussions may be, but, in this instant before I do, I only hope it will be well-received.

(praise be to the edit button)

[edit on 20/9/09 by masqua]

posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 06:03 PM
living in the past, for me means sitting at this desk clicking away because i have no friends. and perhaps because my neighbors are doing the very same thing.

posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 11:31 PM
Interesting premise. I would say it is impossible to constantly live in the past as that would be impossible, a paradox, if you will, just as it is impossible to live in the future. It is only possible to live in the here and now.

This reminds me somewhat of Zeno's paradoxes, specifically The Arrow comes to mind:

Zeno abolishes motion, saying "What is in motion moves neither in the place it is nor in one in which it is not".

This argument against motion explicitly turns on a particular kind of assumption of plurality: that time is composed of moments (or ‘nows’) and nothing else. Consider an arrow, apparently in motion, at any instant. First, Zeno assumes that it travels no distance during that moment — ‘it occupies an equal space’ for the whole instant. But the entire period of its motion contains only instants, all of which contain an arrow at rest, and so, Zeno concludes, the arrow cannot be moving.


As such, it would seem that we only live in individual moments of time: the present.

posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 02:48 AM
reply to post by kj6754

yes , in the past and in the futur

posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 03:01 AM
reply to post by kj6754

I would say the opposite, I think we are predominently focused on predicting the future to see the present, the past is after both and that is memory in my opinion.

In an experiment originated by Dr. Nijhawan, people watch an object pass a flashbulb. The timing is exact: the bulb flashes precisely as the object passes. But people perceive that the object has moved past the bulb before it flashes. Scientists argue that the brain has evolved to see a split second into the future when it perceives motion. Because it takes the brain at least a tenth of a second to model visual information, it is working with old information. By modeling the future during movement, it is “seeing” the present.

You can have a read here if it interests you...

So in the scenario with touching your own arm, your brain already predicts the arm being moved, your other arm touching it, that is processed before you even think it. So you are actually touching your arm in the present, the sensation is in the present as well because it was predicted in the future.

If we lived like your scenario says, it would be impossible to play sports such as baseball, basketball or football for example because we would be constantly playing slower than the reality of the game. Would be hilarious and I must admit, some things do make you wonder....

[edit on 21-9-2009 by XXXN3O]

posted on Sep, 21 2009 @ 03:05 AM
reply to post by kj6754

The point we are existing in is NOW.

That is why you should not worry about the past or the future - live in the now.

I think that if we realize this, we might be happier.

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